Car and truck sales in Australia could top one million for the first time this year, motor industry boss Peter Sturrock said.

According to Australian Associated Press (AAP) Strurrock, the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), said that, with demand on target for the six-figure result, the economic fundamentals remained in place to sustain industry growth.

“There may be some softening towards the end of the year but if the trend continues we’ll get very close this year (to one million sales) and inevitably we’ll break it next year, assuming that pace is maintained,” he reportedly said.

AAP noted that last year vehicle sales topped 900,000 for the first time and after the first two months of 2004 demand was up a further 10%, suggesting the one million target was achievable.

Sturrock reportedly said a number of factors had fuelled the boom, including the strength of the economy, low interest rates and competitiveness among car producers and importers. A steady stream of well-priced new products had also proved attractive to buyers, driving the market forward.

“I don’t think there’s a risk of a downturn in any significant way,” Sturrock said, according to AAP, adding: “It may plateau a little, but I think we’re seeing the catch-up from 10 to 15 years ago.”

AAP said that early next week the industry will release official sales figures for March and Sturrock noted another strong month was expected.